Syrk liked sewing. It was calming, he found, to create things, to combine old things into new, winding the thread that attached them together. His grandmother had been the first to teach him, and he had sat at her feet, listening to her telling her stories while he worked on fixing his robes. The memories belonged to a different past, a different him, almost a stranger now, but he still enjoyed making things with his hands. Moving his hands, bone clicking beneath the dry flesh and threadbare skin, driving needle and suture in, and out, and in again – it was meditative, and he enjoyed it so much that, while he knew how to automate it, a simple working of the Art, of magic, he still preferred to do it manually, needles he made himself flicking back and forth, bright ivory against the dark thread.
He smiled, humming under his breath as he sewed the latest seam in his creation. The materials were different, but the tune was the same, an unbroken line of music that stretched back before his true awakening, when the Spine had reached down through his darkest night-terrors and bestowed upon his soul such terrible beauty. He had seen the sickly, beating, pulsing heart of Creation, and it had seen him. There were other memories of before, of course, but it was sewing and music that came first to mind, that didn’t bear strange emotions along with them, echoes of regrets and fears and worries that he simply could no longer comprehend. And so he ignored them and kept sewing, humming a tune from his childhood that he barely remembered, all while the materials of his latest project twitched and moaned as they were stitched together.
He’d found them wandering the annalways of the Library, near the great and glittering spire of the False Axiom, following each other around in a strange, zig-zagging search like a train of particularly unpleasant and misshapen ducklings. As simulacra went, they were poorly-made, flesh pooling like putty in strange suits of plastic-and-nylon armour, stumbling over their own feet as they sniffed out the same great disturbances that Syrk himself was seeking. They bore the marks of two separate makers, upon examination. One, the first, was a talented yet fumbling alchymist, likely self-taught, who had formed these semi-autonomous flesh puppets. The second creator had been a truly inspired chirurgeon, who had taken these bumbling creatures apart and rebuilt them, stronger, faster, cleverer and sharper. What glorious art! What wondrous design! And now, Syrk was adding to this piece, disassembling and then sewing all eight of them together into a wonderful new thing, his necromantic Art adding to his fellow creators’ piece and pushing it over the edge into something sublime. Truly, he had been blessed by the Real to wander by happenstance into these creatures, that he might contribute to the artistry in what little way he could. From every suture cast, from every sinew twisted, he built a masterpiece upon this canvas, prepared by his collaborators. It was beautiful, and his vague memories of a different self were swept away afore its rising tide. He moved and wound bone into spirals, ever hearing the wordless thoughts of the Spine in the back of his head, a churning ocean of viscera to which he was communing, to which he dedicated his arts, for which he shaped and cut and sewed and grew – he made it move, that it might dance in supplication, he made it speak, that it might croon its songs of worship. A grand temple, whose uprights were limbs, whose altar had eyes, had teeth, whose pennants were of skin.
On the fifth day of sleepless creation, he heard it finally begin to sing, wordlessly copying the tune he had been humming, and he could have almost wept, would his physiology permit. The inky blue of his own blood mixed in slow, violet patterns with the brilliant red of his new creature, which gazed down at him with the lucent eyes of each smiling face. He laughed and laughed, and it sung its chorus of joy in return, each mouth splitting a different angle, different seam through its faces, each sculpted and grown unique, each detail placed and moving with a perfection that sung paeans of the Spine, through holy geometry and blessed acoustics, the thrum of consecrated blood and flesh.
It stood, slowly at first, every motion interlocking, each limb jointed and shaped to move uninterrupted, each arc of movement carefully calculated. It spiralled higher, grasping hands and singing jaws sliding, popping into position with a terrific, terrible melody. In its eyes, varied and phosphorescent, it did behold, and with its thoughts it queried the Real for its elusive quarry – seeking with senses known and unknown for all three of its creators’ singular target.
Syrk felt the air change as it swung its gaze around, through him, possessed of a singular majesty of purpose of which he could only envy – not for it, memories that departed from surety. It Saw, it Hungered, and it started to move, a glorious display of craft and creation, pure poetry in the smoothness of its gait.
With a cry of glee, he alit atop it, standing steady on its apex as it roved. He had seen the shape that lurked within the clay he had been given, and with practised precision, cut away all weakness, all stumbling, and had left behind a sublimity of which he could only wonder, greater than the sum of any of its parts. It was chariot, it was Travel, it was a Seeker, a Finder, that would look forever in hope of the quarry he had shown it, the beautiful and hungry darkness he had glimpsed. He would find it, this ancient enemy of the Triskelion, and with it he would seize the reins of the heavens themselves.
He licked his lips, tasting the air with a thin, blue-grey tongue. The hunt was on.